The South Pasadena girls’ varsity basketball team went in Saturday’s championship game with high hopes after defeating Norco, Diamond Bar and Colony High Schools, but fell short against Brea Olinda in the Brea Olinda Ladycat Classic championship final. This marked the Tigers first loss with a score of 68-48, ending the tournament with a record of 3-1.
The Towering Wildcats took the first quarter decisively, 21-2. However, the team started to gain their momentum in the second quarter and began to push back, ending the first half with a deficit of nine points and a score of 30-21.
With tenacious defense and a flurry of six three-pointers by seniors Elise Takahama, Lexie Scholtz and junior Kristen Kafkaloff, the team started making up for their size in the second and third quarter but ultimately ran out of steam down 46-34 going into the third quarter. This trend continued into the last quarter, leading to the loss
The wildcats, who had four 6 foot starters, took an advantage against their smaller competitor and kept their lead with offensive drives, a pair of consecutive threes, and dominant rebounding.
“I’m really proud of how we have played so far,” Lai said. “We showed how competitive and resilient we can be. We played several teams that were bigger than us but we were able to get out and run against them. To get to the championship game against a team like Brea Olinda is something that will help us become better as the season goes on.”
In the team’s third game against Norco, the Tigers made a thrilling overtime win. The team made up a 16-point deficit, taking the game into overtime when Scholtz knocked down a three-pointer to tie it up 56-56. The team kept up the intensity when Takahama hit a three and a runner to open the four-minute overtime period, with Scholtz adding a layup. Down four points with 23 seconds left, senior Sophia Hathaway stunned the crowd by making a three and snatching away two monster rebounds to get the ball to senior guard Taryn Kato with three seconds left on the clock. Kato swished the game-winning shot as the Tigers erupted in cheers.
In their two previous games, South Pas took on Diamond Bar and Colony, defeating them with scores of 56-42 and 74-64, respectively.
Senior guards Scholtz, Takahama and Kato were named to the All-Tournament team.
The loss brought the Tigers’ preseason record to 7-1. Lai said she would review adjustments during the next week of practice before traveling to Flintridge Prep for a Monday, December 15 game at 7:30 p.m.